Ahead of attending the Global Climate Action Summit, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) is joining the CO2toEE coalition in its call to make businesses and building owners eligible for reductions in carbon emissions that result from their investments in energy efficiency.
“Allowing building owners to participate in cap-and-trade programs will drive much deeper reductions in carbon emissions from buildings, and in turn encourage architects and building owners to develop and adopt more energy efficient designs and practices,” says 2018 AIA President Carl Elefante, FAIA.
A cap-and-trade system puts a limit on the amount of pollution corporations and utilities discharge. Under such a system, utilities and corporations are incentivized to buy and sell rights that allow the release of harmful gases into the air, meaning that a company or utility that reduces its pollution is financially rewarded.
Today, building owners who invest in energy efficiency achieve three valuable objectives, cutting energy consumption, reducing costs and reducing CO2 emissions. Under existing cap-and-trade rules, investors in energy efficient buildings receive the financial value of only one of these benefits—lowered energy costs. The CO2toEE initiative aims to ensure that building owners receive the benefits of achieving both goals.
“This change makes the carbon market more efficient by assigning the value of carbon reductions where it belongs; to the people who actually make them,” says Angela Brooks, FAIA, managing principal at Brooks + Scarpa and 2018 chair of the AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE). “With the adoption of CO2toEE, the cap-and-trade market can be harnessed to reward energy efficiency investors with the value of the CO2 reductions they create.”